Wild Wednesday 33/52 Snowy Plovers

Copyright © 2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While at the beach a couple weeks ago to photograph the Moon we came across a protected area where we discovered Snowy Plovers nesting.

They’re a small shorebird found on beaches, and barren ground all across North American Gulf and Pacific coasts and here and there in California, Texas, and Saskatchewan inland areas. They are also found in South America, and Eurasia.

Snowy Plover

Neat facts from allaboutbirds.org:

The Snowy Plover will many time raise two broods a year, and sometimes three in places where the breeding season is long.  The female deserts her mate and brood about the time the chicks hatch and initiates a new breeding with a different male.

Snowy Plover in Nest

Young Snowy Plovers leave their nest within three hours of hatching! They flatten themselves on the ground when a parent signal the approach of people or possible predators.  They walk, run, and swim well and forage unaided by parents, but need periodic brooding for many days after hatching.

The oldest recorded Snowy Plover was at least 15 years, 2 months old when it was spotted in the wild in California and identified by its band. ~allaboutbirds.org

This one was really close to the edge of the protected nesting area which was great. It gave us really great looks, and photo ops.

Snowy Plover

Sadly, the Snowy Plover population is listed as Near Threatened as their numbers are in decline.  It’s believed their habitat is in decline due to habitat alteration, and increased recreational use of beaches.

I was happy to see this section roped/taped off, and no one breached the barrier while I was there so, it looks like people are respecting them, and the rules to stay out of the area while they’re nesting. I hope that bodes well for a successful breeding season for these cute little shorebirds.

I hope your week is going well, and you all have a lovely week-end!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

 

Advertisements

Wild Wednesday 21/52 Osprey Family

Copyright © 2018 Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The day after Mother’s Day Gordon of undiscoveredimagesamongstus blog was the navigator for an excursion to see an Osprey nest that is currently inhabited with a family of 4.

We had some great sightings of the Female, Male, and little peeks at the chicks.  The morning was overcast, but during lunch the sun broke through the marine layer giving us some blue sky.

The Male was busy in the morning with chores; bringing in new nesting material.

Osprey Male with Nesting Material

Heading out again…

Opresy leaving the Nest

a peek at the chicks!

Osprey with Chicks in the Nest

Osprey and Chicks_DMZ7350

Osprey Facts:

COMMON NAME: Osprey

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pandion haliaetus

TYPE: Birds

DIET: Carnivores

AVERAGE LIFE SPAN IN THE WILD: 30 years

SIZE: Body, 21 to 23 in; wingspan, 5 to 6 ft

WEIGHT: 3.1 to 4.4 lbs

They are fantastic fishers. Their diet is 99% fish, so you’ll find them on rivers, lakes, ponds and coastal waterways around the world.

Ospreys hunt by diving to the water’s surface from some 30 to 100 feet up. They have gripping pads on their feet to help them pluck fish from the water with their curved claws and carry them for great distances. In flight, ospreys will orient the fish headfirst to ease wind resistance.~https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/o/osprey/

I didn’t get to see the aerial show Gordon and our friend Dan saw on Saturday, but I can’t complain. It was amazing see these fly to and from the nest, and get a bonus peek at the chicks.

We saw some other birds too, but I’ll save those for a rainy day. 🙂

He-Man was seated on a jury today so, I’ll be missing him for the next few days.  Funny that. When he first started telecommuting I wasn’t happy about it. Having him in my space all day; UGH!  I’ve had to adjust. It’s been a few years now and I’ve grown to appreciate him being here.

The Guinea Pig; Box, is settling in and he and Diva Dog are getting used to each other.  Box and she are communicating I think.  Diva Dog chuffs, and wags her tail like crazy when she’s inspecting Box, and his habitat, and Box chirps, and whistles and is really excited to see her after her walks.

Box is standing still in his habitat when I put my hand in to pet him now, so we’re making progress too. I’ll get some images of him to share soon.  He’s a cute little calico Guinea pig.

I hope your week is going well!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| f/8| ISO 800| SanDisk Digital Film

more to come…

 

 

Wild Wednesday 20/52 Deep Greens and Blues are the Colors I Choose

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On Saturday I went birding locally in the morning hoping to see a Lazuli Bunting. They’re only here in the Spring and I heard they were spotted in a place I’d seen one four years ago.  It was a stellar morning of birding! Not only did I get a brief look at the Lazuli Bunting, but I also saw lots of Violet-green Swallows. 🙂

Both birds have amazing colors.

Lazuli Bunting Male-  He’s song bird.

Lazuli Bunting

Violet-green Swallow Male

Violet-green Swallow

…and I got the “look” from a White-tailed Kite while she was hunting. You know how much I like them. My favorite of the Birds of Prey.  I like to think she was wishing me a Happy Birthday. 🙂

White-tailed Kite

I had a birdy long week-end that included some hiking/walking . Saturday I hiked just a smidge over a mile half of it was uphill and the beginning was steep.  Monday I hiked a bit over 2 miles, and Tuesday afternoon I hiked just over 4 miles.  He-Man and I hiked a trail we hadn’t hiked in a couple of years. It was good to get out and really stretch our legs.  Mind you, I feel so out of shape since having the flu and not doing much hiking since. I’m glad I made the loop up and down! I had doubts about being able to make it up to the second trail-head to make the loop. A couple of spots are steep. On two of the hikes I had some elevation gain which I like.  I like uphill for the first leg…more payoff for the exertion, and the reward is the downhill on the way back.  However, what I find is that there is uphill on both ends! I’m usually tired by the time I reach the upper elevation, and it’s work to get up those uphills on the way back.  I’m always so thankful I completed the hike, and if I carried my Garmin tracker seeing the stats always makes those uphills on the way back more rewarding.  I was tired and needed some extra Yoga stretches to ward off being really sore Wednesday, but I kept thinking “maybe I’ll get my groove back, and hike a couple times a week again.”

One can hope! 🙂

I hope you all are having a good week!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| San Disk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

 

 

 

Wild Wednesday 17/52 Wild Chicks in the Park

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Saturday I was feeling strong, and well enough to do some birding with friends. I rose 4:15am to be ready for my friend to pick me up then from there we drove north 50 minutes to meet Gordon from undiscoveredimagesamonstus

After meeting Gordon we headed north across the Golden Gate Bridge to go to a pond for birding.  We spent over an hour there then we headed over the Richmond Bridge to meet more friends at Blake Garden. After spending a couple hours at the Garden we headed to lunch. It was a great breakfast place. I’d go back and order the same thing.  I didn’t take any photos of my food I was too hungry by then.

After lunch and saying farewell to a friend we headed to Golden Gate Park to look for the Owlets we heard were there.

I was familiar with the tree the owls like to nest in having been to it several years ago, so finding that was easy, but we relied on birders there ahead of us to point us in the direction of the owlet nest.

Mama Owl was there too, but she was well camouflaged in the foliage much higher in the tree.  I have a really bad image of her I’ll spare you from seeing.

There are 3 owlets, but I was only able to see two of their faces. 😦  The one in the very far right is still sleeping.

Owlets San Francisco CA_DMZ6602

I changed positions to the other side of the tree and got this shot of one of the owlets.

Owlet San Francisco CA_DMZ6629-3

The only bummer for me was that I couldn’t find my 200-500mm lens to use that day.  I put it away somewhere safe when I went hiking in Quarry Hill Garden several weeks ago. Then I got the flu and was out of it for nearly two weeks. When I went to get my lens where I thought I put it it wasn’t there. I looked high and low, and couldn’t find it, so only had my 300mm with me, and it really was too short for the day.  Aside from that it was a fun, and successful day of birding.

I did finally find my 200-500mm the following day in a box with the Christmas ribbons and bows. I totally forgot putting it in there!

I’ll be sharing images from our trip to the pond and garden in other posts.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 300mm f/4| SanDisk Digital Film| PSCC 2018

more to come…

 

Wild Weds. 12/52 Duck, Duck, Goose!

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A couple of weeks ago when I shared the Snow Leopard  images here 

I mentioned that my friend and I went birding before we visited Sacramento Zoo. We went to Sacramento, CA to find special ducks, and geese.  The Ducks were some of the most colorful ducks here in the States.  Wood Ducks, and a Mandarin Duck which I’ll save for another post, and a new Goose for me the African Goose.

There were a couple pairs of Woods Ducks, and quite a few African Geese making the day very successful.

Wood Ducks can be found here all year long, but we see them mostly in Spring.  They have sharp, strong claws that allow them to climb branches. They will nest in boxes if they’re provided, but if not they’ll nest in holes in  trees.  The Wood Duck is the only North American duck that regularly produces two broods in one year.  The Wood Duck is considered one of the prettiest of all waterfowl.

Wood Duck Male

Wood Duck Male

Wood Duck Female- She’s looking up at a nesting box that the Wood Ducks kept taking turns flying up to.  They’re paired up now so brooding is on their minds no doubt. 🙂

Wood Duck Female

Wood Duck pair-  I was focused on the male, and shooting at f/8, but the female isn’t as sharp as I would have liked her to be.  What do you think he’s talking about? Traffic on the pond? Or how beautiful she is? Or how wonderful he is at nesting, and fathering chicks? 🙂

Wood Duck Pair

The African Goose- Isn’t really from Africa they think it’s really from China and related to the Swan Goose from China.  It’s most distinguishing feature is its knob on its bill/face front.

I’d never seen this Goose before. We don’t have many knobbed fronted birds here, but it’s a beauty.  It’s not listed in either of my Bird books for North America so, I turned to Wikipedia for information about it. See below the images.

This one might be a mix of white and brown because of the orange in its knob, or maybe it’s breeding colors? IDK? 🙂

African Goose in the Pond

Several came out of the pond to forage on the lawn. I liked the way this one stopped foraging to give me “the look”.   I didn’t get any closer.  🙂

African Goose

Here’s an image of what I think is a male African Goose. It was HUGE, and you can see the Dewlap (the hanging bit under the chin) that is mentioned below as a distinguishing feature.

African Goose Male

The African Goose is a breed of goose. The African goose breed most likely originated in China, despite the name. They may possibly be related to the wild swan goose a smaller species of goose, just like their close cousin the Chinese goose. Though they share some similar characteristics (such as colour variations), the two can be distinguished by the African’s larger dewlap and different knob shape. African geese are also quite a bit heavier than Chinese, and are better known for their docile temperaments. Also, they are known to lay far fewer eggs than Chinese geese, 25-40 eggs per year for the African goose vs. 40-65, or, in extreme cases, up to 200 eggs per year for Chinese geese.

Two origin theories persist for the fowl: the first purporting that Africans are the result of crosses of swan geese and Chinese, while the other asserts that they are pure derivations of the swan goose, and their unique traits are simply the result of selective breeding. Whichever the case, it has existed as a distinct breed since at least the middle of the nineteenth century, and was admitted to the American Poultry Association‘s Standard of Perfectionin 1874.

Ganders often have a higher pitched call than the geese, and are taller, while the females are shorter and stockier, with larger keels or lobes.

African geese appear in three color varieties: Brown, Buff and White. Browns have black bills and knobs, and plumage with irregular shades, from a very light to dark brown. Whites have all-white plumage and orange bills and knobs.” ~https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_goose

 

It was an outstanding morning at the pond seeing these and several other species.

I hope your week is going well, and it’s easy going til Friday!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| San Disk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

Wild Wednesday 8/52 Hawk

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While out birding in Central Valley last month I saw lots of Red-tailed Hawks. This one was happy to pose for me. 🙂 At least I think this one is a Red-tailed Hawk.

Hawk

Red-tailed Hawks are quite common here. Their habitat is wide open fields. They like to perch in trees along fields, fence posts, and telephone poles.

Their Behavior- from All About Birds:

“You’ll most likely see Red-tailed Hawks soaring in wide circles high over a field. When flapping, their wing beats are heavy. In high winds they may face into the wind and hover without flapping, eyes fixed on the ground. They attack in a slow, controlled dive with legs outstretched – much different from a falcon’s stoop.”~allaboutbirds.org

They’re so common here I almost take them for granted. I’m always hoping to spy other types of Hawks instead of them, but when there are none about I’m so happy they’re here.

Sunday, I planned to go out to do some photography at the coast, but the wind was blowing 20-25 mph, and it was cold and gray, so I stayed in and watched Season 1 of Monk. Guess who found Streampix? 🙂 I hadn’t ever watched that show before, but I really like it. I’ll be watching every season til I am caught up. Yep, I’m hooked. 🙂

Recently I’ve also binged watched Vikings, and Camelot.  Those are two more T.V. shows I’m now Jonesing for the next season to begin already!

I’m currently reading A Dead Guy at the Summerhouse by Marian Allen who I discovered here on WordPress via Thursday Doors. You can find her here.  She writes Sci-fi stuff too. Yeah, she’s right up my street. 🙂 Check her out if you enjoy reading these genres too.

So, what are birds are seeing in your neighborhood, what are watching and reading right now?

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| Hoodman Digital Film

more to come…

Wild Wednesday 4/52 White-tailed Kite

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A friend and I went birding Saturday at two Wildlife Refuges. We reversed the order we normally do these two refuges and I’m glad we did. It was pretty birdy at Merced Wildlife National Refuge, but I’m going to share with you the last bird I photographed for the day at San Luis National Wildlife Refuge.

And, what a bird to end the day on! It’s my favorite raptor.

White-tailed Kite

It’s a medium sized raptor and likes open grasslands, and savannas.  It hovers while hunting for prey, and have big amber/red eyes. Here’s some information about their hunting behavior from allaboutbirds.com

While hunting, the White-tailed Kite characteristically hovers up to 80 feet off the ground and then drops straight down onto prey items. This ability to hold a stationary position in midair without flapping is accomplished by facing into the wind, and is so characteristic of these birds that it has come to be called kiting. White-tailed Kites also perform ritualized courtship displays in which a male offers prey to a female prior to egg laying. In an often spectacular aerial exchange, the female flies up to meet the male, turns upside-down, and grasps the prey.“`allaboutbirds.com

I think they’re the prettiest of the raptors.  If I could be a bird this is the one I’d be. 🙂

You’ll find them up and down Western to Central California, Oregon, Mexico, Central and South America.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm@500mm| 1/640s| ISO 500| cropped| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…